How voice data collection works
Companies collect voice data from devices that require the use of voice commands, like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Voice data can also be obtained through:
- In-car navigation systems
- Call center data
- Public speech databases
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Each device records and catalogs requests and adds them to its database. In some cases, smart home technology may also record conversations as part of its voice data collection efforts. Then, this data is processed by AI to better learn how to communicate with humans.
It’s not always clear when data is being collected. For example, Amazon’s Alexa will record a conversation without the user’s knowledge because the device thought someone said its name. Those conversations are sometimes sent through Amazon’s grading process, which can pose privacy issues. However, learning how to modify privacy settings can help users protect themselves from overeager technology.
Each company that collects data owns the data it collects. Users relinquish control and ownership of data by using the device.
How the data is used
The voice data collection catalogues are being used to make personal assistant apps better. Just a few of the apps that utilize this data include:
- Google Assistant
- Microsoft’s Cortana
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple’s Siri
- Samsung’s Bixby
- Windows DataBot
- Chrome’s Alice
Voice commands can only function if the device being used understands the user. By collecting massive amounts of voice data, devices will be able to do more than they could ever do before. They will also be able to understand human speech better, reducing the need for users to repeat requests.
Most companies strive to be transparent about how the voice data they have collected is used. For example, the Google Home smart speaker does not store audio recordings by default. However, it is often recommended by companies because it can improve AI technology. In turn, that makes their products easier to operate, enhancing the user experience.
Why voice data collection is ongoing
Voice data collection is ongoing because human speech is complex, especially as users get more comfortable using devices. Instead of enunciating clearly because a machine is being addressed, more and more people will speak to it as if they were speaking to a friend. That means AI technology will have to be able to distinguish words, phrases, and commands when a person’s speech changes because they are sad or tired, or whether they are speaking loudly or softly.
Dialects can change, depending on where a person lives, and accents can make some words sound completely different, depending on who is speaking. By collecting massive amounts of voice data, and continuing to do so, AI programs are able to understand everyone, regardless of their race, culture, age, and other personal factors.
The future of voice recognition technology
Today, devices are mostly being commanded to execute simple tasks, like reading aloud the latest news headlines or turning off the lights. As AI technology continues learning from voice data collection, its capabilities will only increase. Devices will be able to handle more complex tasks, and marketers may be able to use recordings to better target customers. For example, technology that can read the emotion in people’s voices may be able to personalize recommendations based on how they are feeling.
Technology will be more available to those who found it difficult to use in the past. There is no learning required to use voice commands, unlike the skills that are required to type on a keyboard or interact with a touch screen. Voice data collection enables technology and machines to adapt to human behavior instead of the other way around, giving it the ability to transform nearly any industry.